APTN National News
OTTAWA–On the orders of his doctor, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo is taking leave for about 10 days.
In a statement issued Monday, Atleo said the grind of the last two weeks have left him exhausted.
“There were many long conference calls, late night meetings and frustrations in the past two weeks. I regret to tell you that those long days have caught up with me,” said Atleo. “This weekend, my doctor ordered that I take some time now to rest and recover and I have agreed with my family that I do this now.”
Atleo’s statement did not specific what the health issues were that forced him to take the time off.
Atleo said that New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island regional Chief Roger Augustine would chair the AFN’s national executive. Atleo said British Columbia regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybold along with Saskatchewan regional Chief Perry Bellegarde would also be handling the treaty implementation and comprehensive claims file.
“As we did in the meeting on Jan 11, we must seize the agenda and drive the next steps on each and every element,” said Atleo.
Atleo faced intense pressure to cancel the planned meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday. The meeting went ahead with chiefs from Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Yukon also attending.
Atleo could also be facing calls of non-confidence in his leadership. Chiefs in Ontario and Manitoba were upset Atleo went ahead with the meeting and there have been backroom discussions over challenging his leadership.
There are also plans in the works for blockades on Wednesday. Economic disruptions could hit Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick.
In his statement, however, Atleo said the meeting was fruitful.
“We forced open the door to the (Prime Minister’s Office) and to the governor general. We achieved a commitment to the personal leadership of the prime minister, the Privy Council Office and other senior ministers,” said Atleo. “Now they know that the whole world is watching what progress we make. Now they understand the consequences of failure.”